Bharat Ratnas: Vajpayee, Mohan Malaviya to get India's highest civilian award

After speculation for months, the President today announced that the Bharat Ratna would be awarded to former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and posthumously to freedom fighter and educationist Madan Mohan Malviya.

FP Staff December 24, 2014 11:42:07 IST

After speculation for months, the President today announced that the Bharat Ratna would be awarded to former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and posthumously to freedom fighter and educationist Madan Mohan Malviya.

After the Union Cabinet meet held earlier today, which was expected to decide on the matter, the President tweeted from his official handle:

Vajpayee's niece welcomed the move coming a day ahead of his birthday on Thursday.

"He has completed 90 years and this will be an invaluable gift for him", Karuna Shukla, Vajpayee's niece told Times Now

Bharat Ratnas Vajpayee Mohan Malaviya to get Indias highest civilian award

AFP image

The Modi government has already declared that the day would be observed as 'good governance day' as a mark of respect for the former Prime Minister. The government earned its fair share of controversy over an alleged plan to have CBSE school students come to school on the day to participate in a contest despite it being a public holiday on account of Christmas.

Speculation over the BJP's first prime minister getting the highest civilian award has been on since August this year when his name came up along with freedom fighter Subhash Chandra Bose as being in the running for the Bharat Ratna.

The BJP has been demanding that Vajpayee get the award since last year and the then leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha and now minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, was quoted as saying that if the BJP government came to power they would award the Bharat Ratna to Vajpayee.

Vajpayee, one of the co-founders of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, also was instrumental in the creation of the BJP in 1980. He had served as External Affairs Minister during the Morarji Desai government and after being elected as Prime Minister in 1999 became the first non-Congress leader to complete a full term in office.

Previous prime ministers have received the Bharat Ratna in the past as well. Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Morarji Desai, and Gulzarilal Nanda are the six former prime ministers who have received the award in the past, and Vajpayee would be the seventh to receive it.

An educationist and freedom fighter, Madan Mohan Malviya was the founder of the Banaras Hindu University and passed away in 1946. Malviya who had been a part of the Congress during the freedom struggle but later was one of the founders of the Hindu Mahasabha.

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